Speed Reads

Speed Reads

R. Kelly gets COVID-19 in jail while awaiting sentencing

A lawyer for R. Kelly said Tuesday the disgraced R&B singer needs more time to appeal his conviction after contracting COVID-19 in jail.

In new court documents on Tuesday, Kelly's attorney Jennifer Bonjean requested a two-week extension for the appeal of his conviction, citing his coronavirus diagnosis, the Chicago Tribune reports.

"It is vitally important that Mr. Kelly meaningfully participate in his post-trial defense," Bonjean reportedly wrote in the documents, also saying that his COVID-19 diagnosis has "interfered with his ability to speak with counsel by telephone."

The appeal was originally due on Thursday, but according to the Chicago Tribune, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly granted the request for an extension and moved the due date to Feb. 17.

Kelly was convicted in September on racketeering and sex trafficking charges after years of allegations that he sexually abused underage girls. He faces potential life in prison. This was just one of a number of outstanding cases against Kelly, who has also been charged with sex crimes in Chicago. That Chicago trial is scheduled to begin in August. He has pleaded not guilty and denied all allegations of sexual abuse.

Since the guilty verdict in the New York trial in September, Kelly has hired Bonjean, a lawyer who helped Bill Cosby successfully appeal his conviction on sexual assault charges. Kelly is being held in a facility in Brooklyn, New York. His sentencing is scheduled for May.